Let's Learn How to Draw Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on December 29th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Let's Learn How to Draw is an interesting universal drawing app - a little different from other apps out there like this.

Here, one can choose to draw a series of trains or monsters - interesting choices that may appeal to adults and children looking to broaden their drawing choices past the simplistic cat or dog selections typical of apps like this that lead themselves invariably to images that may seem “babyish” to some.

What makes this app unique is that after drawing over the template that one traces piece by piece used to ultimately form the complete image, the tracings that a player creates are not actually used, as a prefab, corrected image takes the place of the drawing one has just completed.

This may not seem like fun to some, but as a non-drawer, I actually appreciate this approach. For whatever reason, my drawing abilities are so lacking that even after tracing over a template, my image never looks like what I have tried to create and even as an adult, this frustrates me, leaving me with nothing I would bother coloring in beyond doing so for review purposes.

Because of this, I like how in this app, the focus is on the process of drawing these elements, with less emphasis on the finished product that was truly drawn by the user.

I enjoy how although I am severely lacking in the ability to draw realistically even the most basic of children’s drawings, I had fun and success at adding the details to these finished images - be it train details or monster expressions, more so than I have had in other drawing apps where my completed image is delivered to me at end.

This Assist Mode can be turned off as well to allow one to copy freehand the chosen image, and a blank “Scratch Pad” page is also included, and one can save one's work to an iPad. Players can choose to just color in these images as well, bypassing the drawing section altogether, using this app more like a coloring book.

Five choices for both trains and monsters exist, increasing in difficulty. I like how the purpose of each train is introduced, such as the freight train being the workhorse of the train, capable of carrying almost anything, while the tankers carry liquids or the cargo train being able to carry oddly shaped cargo that does not easily fit into the other cars. The monster's personalities are also introduced and include a wonderful sense of fantasy and whimsy.

Without narration, these fun notes will be lost on kids who can’t read and enjoy this app on their own, and being entirely without sound, this app’s silence, although making this application a nice quiet app, is disconcerting. I do wish that music, sound effects of some sort, or narration can at some point be included.

Although these images can only be colored in using “paint brush mode,” using one’s finger to color in the area of the drawing and lacking the paint bucket mode (my favorite way to color), a variety of point sizes in both brush and eraser tips are available.

It is impressive how the colors can be laid down overlapping each other with a nice translucence that allows combined colors to show through, as well as having the option to make these colors opaque as well - more akin to really painting and something not commonly seen in these types of applications

I do wish the brush strokes themselves could be a little smoother, as drawing curvy lines or circles can amount to a line with many micro corners akin to creating a curve or circle on an etch-a-sketch, something that caught my attention as an adult, but would probably not be noticed by children while enjoying this creative app.

There have also been some issues using the erase function, as a series of dots is often delivered instead of a smooth erasing line, making it sometimes hard to erase sections, as a drag of a finger may create a dotted line of erasing - a nice effect, maybe, and useful in spot correcting, but not what most have in mind when they are looking for an erase function, especially while using the smaller erasing points where these dots are most obvious.

Even with these limitations, I do enjoy what this app has to offer, especially look of this application. The color palette of black, white, and gray along with some interesting textures and distressed elements create an indie feel that I have not yet seen among drawing apps.

Although I will never begrudge an application designed for young children to include the most basic drawing to copy, with a very unrefined, slightly better than a stick figure-like quality as a common outcome, the sophistication and the basic look of this app as well as the interesting drawing choices make this app very appealing to me, as I do not feel condescended to when engaged with these drawings.

For this reason, I think some adults interested in drawing apps may choose this application over others like it, and it may fit the special needs of older children or adults who may have fine motor difficulties but want something less beginner to draw.

Ultimately, I have enjoyed this application very much, but it would be nice if in the future, more content can be added. I do enjoy their trains and monsters, and I would love to see what else developers could think up next.

I am happy to announce that recently, a section of dogs has been added to this application. This makes me happy as these dogs are more sophisticated and interesting to look at than the dogs found in other drawing apps as is the style of Let's Learn How to Draw. I hope these developers continue to add more choices in the future.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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